“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD” (Joshua 24:14).
This familiar command of God to the children of Israel as they settled in the Promised Land makes it plain that God wants sincere service from His people, not a half-hearted or hypocritical type of service. This comes out clearly as we consider several other ways in which the King James translators rendered the same word into English.
For example, it is often translated “without blemish” in connection with the animals acceptable as sacrificial offerings (e.g., Exodus 12:5, speaking of the Passover lamb). It is often translated “upright” or “uprightly.” “No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). It occurs in the first verse of the Bible’s longest chapter: “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD” (Psalm 119:1). It is also rendered “sound.” “Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed” (Psalm 119:80).
It is also translated “full” and “whole” and “complete.” We begin to get the picture if we combine all these and say that our sincere service for the Lord should be upright, undefiled, sound, full, complete, and without blemish!
Most often, in fact, the word is translated “perfect,” and it occurs first of all in connection with the great patriarch Noah. “Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God” (Genesis 6:9). Even more importantly, the same word is used to describe both God and His word. “As for God, His way is perfect.” “The law of the LORD is perfect” (Psalm 18:30; 19:7). We do, indeed, have a very high standard for our “reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). HMM